Tuesday News Review

Leaders clash over Libya

In a statement to the House of Commons the prime minister said would “not rule out in any way” the use of military force against Gaddafi. “We must not tolerate this regime using military force against its own people,” he said. “In that context I have asked the Ministry of Defence and the Chief of the Defence Staff to work with our allies on plans for a military no-fly zone.” He added: “My message to Colonel Gaddafi is simple: Go now.” On Friday Cameron authorised a military operation to rescue Britons stranded in the Libyan desert. The move followed days of heavy criticism levelled at the Foreign Office’s initial rescue efforts. And he said on Saturday two RAF C130 aircraft flew into the Eastern desert and picked up 74 British nationals and 102 foreign nationals at three different locations. – ePolitix

Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, was obliged to endorse this firm anti-Gaddafi line, but attempted instead to develop an anti-Cameron line, by demanding an apology from the Prime Minister for the delay of about a day and a half in evacuating some British citizens from Libya. Mr Miliband’s demand was shot down in the no-fly zone which Mr Cameron proceeded to create over the Leader of the Opposition. For as the Prime Minister retorted to Mr Miliband: “If apologies are in order, perhaps he should think of one about the appalling dodgy dealing with Libya under the last government.” – Daily Telegraph

I remember my first day at school too

David Cameron’s new spin chief turned up with a dizzying array of gadgets as he made a flustered entry into Downing Street on his first morning yesterday. Ex-BBC executive Craig Oliver tried to look trendy clutching his iPad, wearing expensive headphones and with a flashy bicycle helmet tied to his manbag. Obviously no one told him it didn’t all go with the ill-fitting suit and unfastened pink shirt-cuffs. And after he marched briskly up to No10, he was warned he’ll need more than the helmet to protect him from the growing flack over Tory-led coalition cuts. Mr Oliver has replaced Andy Coulson, who resigned over links to a phone-tapping scandal. As Mr Oliver, 41, made his first appearance in the Commons yesterday afternoon, he must have wished he’d kept on those headphones – a pair of fashionable Diddybeats, worth around £120, launched by rappers Dr Dre and Diddy last year. – Daily Mirror

The stride is purposeful, the gaze resolutely focused. If only he didn’t look like a man who was late for his Cycling Proficiency Test. This is Downing Street’s new spin-meister Craig Oliver on his first day at the office. He carries an iPad, of course – perfect for an avid tweeter who has already set up CraigOliverNo10 on Twitter. At least he’s had the nous to turn the screen off for the cameras. Then there are those groovy headphones. They are ‘Beats’, by rapper Dr Dre, high definition, noise cancelling ‘cans’ more usually favoured by music purists. This particular model costs £170 and boasts ‘Monster ControlTalk’ for hands-free iPad and iPhone use. Surely he wasn’t wearing them while pedalling through the London rush hour? He sports freshly shined shoes, workaday togs, plus all the gear a chap seems to need these days to be part of Dave ’n’ Nick’s Coalition team – right down to the manbag, beloved by students, trendies and geeks. Granted, he might still need to do some work on the Prince of Darkness image preferred by certain Downing Street predecessors – but for the moment, anonymity seems to suit. Oh, the clothes. His scarf may look as if it has been tied by his mum before she packed him off to school, although in fairness, it’s the way they tend to tie them these days at the BBC. – Daily Mail

Coalition talks continue in Ireland

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore will meet again this morning to continue talks on the formation of a coalition government. The two men met for more than an hour last night to discuss the broad shape of an agreement and were due to resume discussions early today. It is expected that the parties’ negotiating teams will begin substantive talks on a programme for government later today. The party leaders met in the ministerial corridor at Leinster House, which was made available by Taoiseach Brian Cowen. The Fine Gael team will be made up of Michael Noonan, Phil Hogan and Alan Shatter while the Labour team is Joan Burton, Brendan Howlin and Pat Rabbitte and Colm O’Reardon. Neither party would make an official comment on the prospects of agreement, but Mr Howlin said last night that Labour’s talks with Fine Gael would be “profound and stark”. – Irish Times

Trying to sell a coalition deal to Irish Labour party members emboldened by record election gains may well be a harder nut to crack than agreeing a programme for government. Most Fine Gael frontbenchers believe a deal can be sealed quickly, but their opposite numbers in Labour are more reticent to share a ministerial Mercedes. The issues that had them slugging it out on the campaign trail have become more manageable, according to sources in both parties. And the new reality in the EU that the interest rates on the bailout must fall takes the sting out of the spending cuts-versus-tax argument for reducing the budget deficit. During the election campaign, Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said any reduction in child benefit was a deal-breaker. But Fine Gael believes there can be compromise on social welfare. Public sector reform, water charges, differences on pensions can all be sorted out by an attitude of “where there’s a will, there’s a way”, a senior Fine Gaeler said last night. – Belfast Telegraph

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply